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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Now we are going to remember the filmmaker who first showed us what it is like to set off in search of the perfect wave.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, "THE ENDLESS SUMMER")

Outside Puerto Rico's capital, a three-story-high mountain of debris and waste sits smack in the middle of what was a suburban soccer field before Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

Blue bleachers peek out from the edge of the trash pile, as a line of trucks rolls in to dump even more tree branches and moldy furniture. Workmen wearing yellow hard hats operate diggers to add the new waste to the growing pile in the center of the field.

Updated at 10:55 p.m. ET

California fire officials say the massive Thomas Fire has claimed the life of a firefighter.

The body of Cory Iverson, a 32-year-old father from Escondido, Calif., was driven out of the fire zone in a procession as firefighters lined the road saluting in respect.

A judge in New York City sentenced the nephews of Venezuela's first lady to 18 years in prison on Thursday, following their convictions on drug trafficking charges.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Americans are big tippers.

Every year, we leave more than $30 billion in tips, mostly in restaurants but also casinos, nail salons and other service businesses.

Traditionally, the owners of those businesses have not had much control over how tips are distributed. But a proposed rule from the Trump administration could change that.

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Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Nearly 9 in 10 Americans believe that "a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment is essential to bringing about change in our society."

At a time when partisan opinions are so polarized on a range of issues, Republicans and Democrats are relatively similar in believing that society should crack down hard on sexual harassment, a new poll from Ipsos and NPR suggests.

As public support for the death penalty wanes, the number of executions and projected death sentences in 2017 rose only slightly, remaining at nearly 25-year lows, according to the annual report released Thursday by the Death Penalty Information Center.

There were 23 executions this year, the center says. Over the past 25 years, only last year's total, 20, was lower.

It has been more than nine months since a family in Canada realized that UPS lost a bank draft worth $846,000 (Canadian) that was sent to an inheritor. So far, the only money recovered is the $32 it cost to ship the document. The family's bank, TD Canada Trust, has delayed issuing a new bank draft.

Lorette Taylor, who lives in Ontario, was distributing the proceeds from her late father's estate when she tried to send an inheritance to her brother, Louis Paul Hebert, who lives near Cornwall, Ontario, some 270 miles from the office of the family's lawyer.

Director Spike Lee was just 29 years old in 1986 when he released his first feature film, She's Gotta Have It. The movie told the story of a young black artist named Nola Darling who loves sex but isn't interested in a committed relationship with any of the three men she is dating.

Lee, now 60, says he made She's Gotta Have It because he wanted to show a woman "living her life, and not really caring about what people feel."

With wildfires still raging across parts of Southern California, dozens of schools have been closed. Many will stay that way till the new year. That gives educators valuable time to think about what they can do, when school resumes, to help students who have been traumatized by these fires.

The number of teens abusing drugs is lower than it's been since the 1990s, according to a national survey.

"In particular, we see a tremendous decline in the portion of young people using cigarettes," Dr. Lloyd Johnson, a study researcher at the University of Michigan, said at a press conference on Thursday. "The changes we're seeing are very large and very important."

Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual news conference on Thursday, an event that commonly runs for hours, offering a kaleidoscope-like glimpse of Putin's view of his country and the world. In this year's edition, the topics ranged from President Trump to Russia's ban at the 2018 Winter Olympics — and the state of the fishing industry in Murmansk.

Heading North: American Doctors Report Back From Canada

Dec 14, 2017

For Peter Cram, an American internist who spent most of his career practicing in Iowa City, Iowa, moving to Toronto in 2014 was an easy decision.

He says he is among a handful of American doctors who went north to practice in Canada's single-payer system. Now he doesn't worry about whether his patients can afford treatment. "Everyone gets a basic level of care," he says, which lets him focus on their medical needs instead of their finances.

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A new study finds that a lot of money is flowing into races for state Supreme Court. Millions of dollars are coming from sometimes mysterious donors, and a lot of it goes to negative advertising. Here's NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson.

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President Trump, nearing the end of his first year in office, appears close to a big win in Congress. He is urging lawmakers to move quickly now that House and Senate Republicans say they have agreed on a tax plan.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Penitent penguins. A seal aghast. A turbocharged wigeon, a vain gnu and a kickboxing kangaroo.

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards are back. This year's winners were announced Thursday morning.

Ultimately, it was the Mouse that roared — and the Fox that beat a retreat from the global stage.

The Walt Disney Co. has struck a deal valued at $52.4 billion to acquire much of the Hollywood holdings of 21st Century Fox, the global television and entertainment conglomerate controlled by Rupert Murdoch and his family. The deal occurs against a backdrop of swift changes to the industry's finances and uncertainty about succession plans at both companies.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

President Trump, near the end of his first year in office, is finally close to a big win in Congress.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Ten years ago this month, you may not have noticed the cracking and crumbling under you.

At the time, you may have had a job, a home and rising retirement savings. Sure, the housing market was hurting a lot, but stock prices were still holding up and Federal Reserve policymakers were offering reasons for calm, saying they expected strong consumer spending.

At least 6,700 Rohingya Muslims were killed in what has been described as "ethnic cleansing" in Myanmar's Rakhine state over a one-month period between August and September, according to the international aid group Doctors Without Borders.

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